A Brief Introduction
Years in Review
Films Ranked: 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Current Criticism
Search Criticism
Past Criticism
Top 10 Lists
Notable Short Films
Contact Me

Square, The

Director:  Ruben Östlund
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  2.0

Modern art museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) is working on setting up a new exhibit, titled "The Square," which is intended to be about inclusion and trust and positivity, but the PR stunt for it (a YouTube video of a child that explodes) backfires - on a personal level he's also unraveling, as he has to locate his stolen cell phone, cuff links and wallet (which were snagged by vandals in broad daylight) and fend off one-night stand Anne (Elizabeth Moss), who wants a relationship. Östlund strikes me as an 'idea guy,' someone who comes up with all these great little bits - the spiraling staircase a la Hitchcock, the "gorilla man" performance art piece-gone-bad, the post-coital used-condom argument - but has no clue how to assemble them into a cohesive narrative, figuring he'll loosely staple together the bits and hope it holds (it doesn't). I presume he's attempting to make some grand statement about social issues in his native Sweden, centering around immigration, tolerance and censorship, but merely bringing up (controversial) subject areas isn't the same as working towards pragmatic solutions. A little focus goes a long way: this is easily three movies crammed into one.

Return to the Previous Page

© Copyright 2019 Matthew Lotti.